Tullibody HMO rejected
CLACKMANNANSHIRE councillors unanimously rejected an application for a licence to operate a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Tullibody.
The applicant, Robert Mallet, had made it known that he intended to approach the council to offer his Marshall Way house as accommodation for homeless people should it be granted.
At Thursday's planning meeting the council chambers was packed with residents in objection to the request.
Mr Mallet's neighbours felt that allowing such a licence to house a maximum of four people would be detrimental and set an unwanted precedent in the area.
Speaking on behalf of Muirside Residents Association, James Dawson said, "Our fears are very real. This application, if granted, could impact quite severely on the value of our properties, our right to live in a family orientated development and our right to live in a setting which is safe for all."
Other concerns included inadequate parking/traffic issues, the changing character of the neighbourhood, the type of people that would be housed, and the possible threat from re-homed offenders.
Mr Mallet defended his application and requested for the committee not to pre-judge the situation.
He stated that he'd carried out research in the local community and had liaised with the council's team to ensure the house conformed to all legal requirements and specifications.
He referred to three other HMOs in the area and asked for the chance to make it a success.
Although an inspection by an Environmental Health officer and a representative from Central Scotland Fire & Rescue revealed that the property met the required standards, planning officers recommended refusing the application due to its location, the type and number of persons likely to occupy it, and the possibility of undue public nuisance.
Due to the principles and policy issues involved and the level of objection, it was submitted to the committee for decision.
At the meeting councillor Tina Murphy questioned Mr Mallet how he proposed to man the property 24-hours a day.
Mr Mallet said it would either be himself or his wife.
Following the meeting Mr Mallet told the Advertiser that he would only live on the property temporary until he put someone else in place and would then return to living with his wife in Alloa.
Councillor Murphy also questioned the safety and security in place to ease residents' concerns, as 24-hour management of the premises did not give assurance that the behaviour of the tenants can be controlled - only that action can be taken following undesirable behaviour.
Unfortunately Mr Mallet hastily responded that he was not responsible for what happens outside of the house.
Councillor George Matchett then queried Mr Mallet's consultation process.
The applicant claimed that after speaking to one neighbour the rest of the street ostracised him.
Councillor Matchett said, "When you consider an application for an HMO would it have not been right and proper to speak to them?"
Mr Mallet replied that they would have received all the information needed from the local notice after application.
The opposing neighbours had made it clear they would not object to a family moving in.
Mr Mallet claimed the last family that leased the house left it in a poor state.
Although the council has licensed a total of eight HMOs in Clackmannanshire, none are in such a quiet residential situation - they are instead located on busier roads and close to town centres.
Councillor Murphy commented that there are genuine cases of people having fallen on hard times, but felt that an HMO may affect nearby property values.
From a personal point of view, she said, "If I was going to buy a house next to transient people not knowing about safety and security I'd look elsewhere."
Mr and Mrs Mallet were disappointed, but expected the outcome.
Mr Mallet said, "I was told to go down the HMO route after approaching the council to take my house. I was told I would get the licence - if it wasn't the wrong location then, why is it the wrong location now?"
Mr Mallet, who has spent over £6000 adapting the house to suit, claimed that neighbours used scare mongering tactics. He added, "They're discriminating against homeless people. Not all do drugs or drink."
Mr Mallet plans to confer with his lawyer prior to deciding whether to lodge an appeal or not.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 05 Sep 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Sep 7, 21:35
What about the old saying,'Everyone deserves a chance'. It would appear Tullibody residents don't agree with that. They should be ashamed of themselves.
They are not prepared to help out someone who has fallen on hard times. Perhaps someone with no family to fall back on, like most of us do. They are scared of these 'outcasts' devaluing their properties. What about basic human decency.
The scaremongers will do anything to get their own way. Those that listen to them should be out in a field with the rest of the sheep.
These are not the Tullibody people I have as friends. I grew up with, and attended school with, many of today's Tullibody men and women. I have family who live their. If any of them backed these scaremongers I would be finished with them
Give these people a chance.
Recommend? Yes 2 No 6
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